The Monitor’s bias

Dear reader:

Someone once told me that the Monitor’s reputation for unbiased journalism was all wrong.

He wasn’t criticizing The Christian Science Monitor or saying that it was – or should be – partisan about any policy, party, or person. He was saying that there were things on which the Monitor clearly did take sides: justice, compassion, dignity, or responsibility, just to name a few.

Former Monitor Editor Marshall Ingwerson summed it up this way: “The Monitor has a bias for progress.”

Christa Case Bryant’s recent cover story is a beautiful example of how that Monitor bias works.

In the aftermath of the 2014 killing of Michael Brown by a policeman in Ferguson, Mo., the discussion of “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” often seemed in conflict with one another. The deep emotions on both sides – so often undergirded by very legitimate concerns – can often tempt us to choose teams.

But in Christa’s story, Elyssa Sullivan and Sgt. Charles Lowe did something interesting. In some ways, they chose the “other” team. Ms. Sullivan, a white suburbanite, joined Black Lives Matter protests. Sergeant Lowe, who is black, chose to join a police department that, many critics say, still struggles with racism, and which, according to data, is disproportionately white.

We usually think about segregation in physical terms when people of different races don’t live among each other. But recent elections brought to the surface a different kind of segregation – mental segregation.

You could say that Sullivan and Lowe are rebels against that trend. And you could say the Monitor is biased in support of them.

Time and again, Monitor reporters have found that when people have the courage to break out of narrow assumptions about those on the “other” side – no matter who that “other” is – and engage them with a genuine sense of goodwill, barriers fall.

That can be the residents of an Atlanta neighborhood learning to trust the cop next door. Or a dyed-in-the-wool Second Amendment supporter reaching out to gun-control advocates to address the suicide rate. Or residents of Greek islands embracing the refugees in their midst.

These stories are not about telling readers what to think. Rather, they begin to break down the idea that opposing views are irreconcilable.

Is the Monitor biased toward a sense of unity, that amid all the diversities of opinions and races and nations, we can find a common humanity that more strongly binds us? Yes.

The Monitor’s mission is “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” That can’t leave anyone out.

We hope you’ll help share the Monitor Daily.

Mark Sappenfield
Editor, The Christian Science Monitor

P.S. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and questions about the Monitor. You can reply to this email or send me a note at editor@csmonitor.com.

One Response to “The Monitor’s bias”

  1. avatar Jobina says:

    I appreciate the Monitor’s bias of including each person. Good to see that bias rippling into wider and wider circles!

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